Three Atom Thick Transistor

A new study by two ECS published authors, David Muller and Jiwoong Park, has led to an electronic piece that is just three atoms thick.

The researchers have unveiled a process to develop ultra-thin transistors made from TMD, otherwise known as transition metal dichalcogenide. This material is novel in the fact that it possesses properties that make it a perfect fit for solar cells, light detectors, or semiconductors.

Researchers have been examining TMDs for some time now, but have been finding it difficult to get them to work consistently. This new study has discovered the best process yet to manufacture the materials, which could lead to a breakthrough in the future of electronics and possibly bring about an end to Moore’s law.

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First Ever Liquid Nanoscale Laser

The laser also has the potential to be used in optical data storage and lithography.Image: Nature Communications

The laser also has the potential to be used in optical data storage and lithography.
Image: Nature Communications

Former ECS member Teri Odom has assisted in the development of the first ever liquid nanoscale laser. This development could lead to some very practical applications, as well as guiding researchers one step closer to developing a “lab on a chip” for medical diagnostics.

The laser is relatively simple to create, cheap to produce, and has the ability to operate at room temperature. Because the device works in real time, users can quickly and simply produce different colors.

This from Science World Report:

The laser’s cavity itself is made up of an array of reflective gold nanoparticles where the light is concentrated around each nanoparticle and then amplified. In contrast to conventional laser cavities, no mirrors are required for the light to bounce back and forth. As the laser color is tuned the nanoparticle cavity stays fixed and does not change.

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New Type of Graphene Aerogel (Video)

focus-issue-boxLogan Streu, ECS Content Associate & Assistant to the CCO, recently spotted an article out of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory detailing a new type of graphene aerogel that could improve energy storage, sensors, nanoelectronics, catalysis, and separations.

The researchers are creating graphene aerogel microlattics through a 3D printing process known as direct ink wetting.

This from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory:

The 3D printed graphene aerogels have high surface area, excellent electrical conductivity, are lightweight, have mechanical stiffness and exhibit supercompressibility (up to 90 percent compressive strain). In addition, the 3D printed graphene aerogel microlattices show an order of magnitude improvement over bulk graphene materials and much better mass transport.

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Earth Day: Science, Climate, and the Future

The modern environmental movement was born 45 years ago today. A small group of twenty-somethings with a passion for the environment rallied together to create a more earth-conscious society, establishing what has become known as Earth Day.

The original Earth Day focused primarily on the pollution issue, but this year’s Earth Day is heavily directed towards climate change and the energy infrastructure.

While there may be a war on science happening with people and politicians alike dismissing climate change as mere myth, scientists conducting research in the field state that evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal.

When looking at climate change on a global level, the numbers speak for themselves.

  • Carbon dioxide levels are at their highest in 650,000 years
  • Nine of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 2000
  • Land ice is dropping by 258 billion metric tons per year
  • Sea levels have risen nearly 7” over the past 100 years

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Mimicking Nature’s Camouflage

In the world of ocean life, the cuttlefish is the king of camouflage. The cuttlefish’s ability to disguise itself, becoming virtually invisible to the naked eye, is an amazing quality that is very difficult to engineer. But with a little inspiration from marine animal, engineers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) have developed a design that mimics patters and textures in a flash.

Within seconds of light exposure, the new structure begins to replicate color and texture of the surrounding environment. While engineers have developed camouflaging materials before, this new design responds to much lower-intensity light and at faster rates than the few predecessors that exist.

“This is a relatively new community of research,” said Li Tan, associate professor of mechanical and materials engineering. “Most of the people (in it) are inspired by the cuttlefish, whose skin changes color and texture, as well.”

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From Food Waste to Fuel

The new development will curtail or reduce the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases.Image: University of Cincinnati

The new development will curtail or reduce the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases.
Image: University of Cincinnati

The United States is wasting food at an alarming rate. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States, the country wastes 40 percent of all food produced—amounting to 1.3 billion tons of food waste produced.

But extra garbage and financial strain are not the only things food waste produces, it also generates a huge amount of greenhouse gas during decomposition. More specifically, global food waste creates 3.3 billion tons of greenhouse gas annually.

Those numbers were especially alarming to researchers from the University of Cincinnati College of Engineering and Applied Science, who proposed a way to transform food waste into bioenergy back in 2013. That proposal has just been accepted.

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Novel Self-Powered Camera

This lens of this new camera acts like a solar panel.Image: Columbia University

This lens of this new camera acts like a solar panel. Click image to enlarge.
Image: Columbia University

Who needs batteries to power a camera? Engineers from Columbia University are working on a novel design in which the pixels of the camera not only capture an image, they also collect light as an energy source.

The engineers are researching a commonality between a typical camera and solar panels: photodiodes. Each device has always used photodiodes, but in different ways.

Engineers plan for the new camera to use photodiodes in both functions.

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50 Years of Moore’s Law

mooreThe iconic Moore’s Law will mark its 50th anniversary this Sunday, April 19th. In celebration, we’ll be taking a look at the solid state revolutionary who made the incredible prediction, the inception of the law, and the deep-rooted links between Gordon Moore and The Electrochemical Society.

The initial transformation in the electronics industry began with an invention at Bell Labs in late 1947 of a little device known as the transistor. The transistor acted as a catalyst of change not only for solid state science and the electronics industry, but also for the composition and spirit of ECS membership—which would begin to be centered on the Electronics Division.

Prior to this solid state surge, electronics—specifically the Electronics Division at ECS—was centered on topics such as phosphors and cathode ray tubes in light of the advent of television. Moore joined ECS in 1957 and helped transform the division into something new—something exciting.

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“To transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders.”

FIRST was founded in 1989 to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology.Image: FIRST

FIRST was founded in 1989 to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology.
Image: FIRST

That is the mission of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). The organization aims to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, and you can see their engineering and innovative expertise live this Saturday as some of the brightest young minds go head-to-head in this robotics competition.

The competition theme for this year is “Recycle Rush,” where hundreds of high school students will compete for the title of FIRST Champion. The competition aids in inspiring young people to be science and technology leaders by engaging them in mentor-based programs that combine the excitement of a varsity sport with hands-on training in science and technology.

Check out the live stream Saturday, April 11th at 9am.

Water Helps Form Tiniest Wires Ever

The nanowires were created through a process called meniscus-mask lithography.Image: Tour Group/Rice University

The nanowires were created through a process called meniscus-mask lithography.
Image: Tour Group/Rice University

Scientists and researchers around the world are always looking for ways to improve technology. While we’ve been making smaller circuits to improve semiconductors for some time now, we’ve just about reached the physical limits of shrinking nanowires. However, this newly developed technique allows for the formation of the tiniest wires yet.

A new technique has been developed that uses water to create patterns of wires less than 10 nanometers wide.

“This could have huge ramifications for chip production since the wires are easily made to sub-10-nanometer sizes,” said lead author James M. Tour. “There’s no other way in the world to do this en masse on a surface.”

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